MIAMISBURG — A questionable hand ball ruling against Northmont set up a penalty kick for Springboro with 10:33 remaining in the first half of Tuesday night’s girls soccer sectional final at Miamisburg.
Olivia Page nailed the kick to give Springboro a 1-0 lead. A Northmont player had the ball and when she kicked the ball it hit her hand. The rule states that a handball is the movement of the hand towards the ball, not the ball towards the hand. It also must be a deliberate act. This was not the case in this scenario, but nevertheless the penalty kick gave the Lady Panthers a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Another controversial call came with 28:41 remaining in the match. Page sent another shot towards the center of the net and Northmont goalkeeper Taylor Pritchett knocked down the shot then picked it up as she moved backwards. The sideline judge was out of position to make a call so the field judge ruled the shot a goal even though he was standing in the center of the playing field some 25 yards away.
That call put Springboro up and demoralized Northmont. Twenty-four seconds later Page struck again nailing a clean shot into the lower left corner of the net for a 3-0 lead.
Northmont’s frustrations continued when Springboro goalkeeper Jadelyn McNerney smothered a penalty kick by Jillian Naas with 26:38 left.
Springboro thwarted every Northmont scoring attempt the remainder of the match to walk away with a 3-0 victory. The Lady Panthers, now 13-3-2, advance to the district vs. Cincinnati Loveland, 14-1-3, on Saturday at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined.
“I thought we played well. I think Northmont is a very good team and they gave us a fight during the regular season and I thought they gave us a great fight tonight,” said Springboro Coach Eric Detmer. “We were just fortunate enough to get a few in the back of the net, but I thought the girls played well.”
Detmer felt the apparent blocked was a legitimate goal, but not a great one.
“I thought it was a goal. She crossed the line,” Detmer said. “It didn’t just drop right behind her. I thought it was pretty significant behind her. It was unfortunate. I don’t think it was a great shot by any means, but that is the game of soccer. A bounce here and a bounce there… you just need a little bit of luck.”
It was a disappointing loss for a Northmont team that fought hard throughout the match. The Lady Bolts battled Springboro to a 2-2 deadlock during the regular season. With the loss Northmont concludes its 2018 season with a record of 8-6-5.
“Tonight I felt like the girls fought hard,” said Northmont Coach Ted Mergler. “They gave Springboro a fight tonight. Unfortunately we just had a couple of unlucky events, if you want to say, that took place and that gave Springboro a couple of goals. The third goal after the second one went in, there was that moment of defeat and kind of a letdown. I am just proud of my girls for getting their heads back in the game and fighting back. The scoreboard might have said 3-0 but that game was a lot closer than that and anybody who was here would agree with that statement. We had a good season and we made a good run in the tournament. I am super proud of my girls. You can’t say that they didn’t put an effort in tonight. It just didn’t go our way.”
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari @aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind